I think he's wrong. Taking a sick beat is worse.
OK, so I lost most of my chips to a two-outer. My opponent was gracious about it, and acknowledged that he got very lucky. Once I got over the initial shock and stacked off most of my chips, I just sort of laughed it off and got on with trying to rebuild my stack.
Sure, I tossed a few friendly barbs at him. "I'm sure glad the fish & chips are on my right so I can get the chips back." At one point he commented that he didn't think he could handle that beat that gracefully, and I just sort of shrugged. It's part of poker. "But you'd better watch out in parking lots..." I teased.
It really didn't bother me. I didn't tilt, I didn't get upset, and I was laughing and joking on the very next hand.
Then came the dinner break, and all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. I just got crucified by an 11:1 shot for most of my stack. I should be one of the chip leaders, and instead I'm nearly to the felt. I felt like curling up into a ball and crying, and at the same time like going out onto Fremont Street and screaming at the top of my lungs. Steve was talking to me during dinner, but I wasn't hearing half of what he said... I was so shell-shocked by the enormity of what had happened that I couldn't focus on the conversation.
And then the dinner break was over, and I got back to work. All of a sudden it was OK, and I was back in the groove. My table was tough, though, and my cards utterly failed to cooperate... I eventually got it all-in with JJ and ran into QQ.
When I busted out, I felt OK. Yeah, I was disappointed, and yeah, I expected and wanted to do better, but I also felt like I'd played rock-solid poker against the best in the world for several hours, and never made a mistake. I'd accumulated chips, made some very difficult calls, read and manipulated situations over and over, and never blew off chips with dumb moves. Neither of my tables was very easy, but I stood up to them and more than held my own.
When I checked my email after busting out, Steve had sent me a message from his cel phone. "I am an idiot. I'm playing video poker." As it turns out, he'd read his opponent's hand perfectly-- Steve had pocket queens, and concluded correctly that his opponent had kings. However, he then ignored his read and put all his chips in, and busted out when his opponent turned over exactly the hand Steve thought he had.
I was talking to JP later and JP said, "I don't know which would feel worse-- screwing up and losing or getting sucked out on and losing."
I immediately responded that screwing up was way worse. In my case, I knew I'd done everything I could and just got bitten by bad luck. I don't have to go to bed kicking myself for being stupid, and I don't have to replay my fuckup for myself over and over and over.
I've come to the conclusion that the worst feeling in poker is to bust out of the main event of the world series on a stupid blunder.